"It's like Limbo, but with magnets!" - Kotaku
"This is one of the best student games we have played"- GamePlayersReview
Systems coming back on line. Self diagnostic completed.
Status: undamaged. Location: unknown.
Somewhere deep underground a robot is lost, trying to find a way back to the surface. Within the caverns are the remnants of an ancient city. Fragments of buried technology still function. Light-speed artificial intellect coupled with industrial-strength magnetic manipulators might ensure survival down here, but hope of escape comes only from a subterranean trail of bioluminescent blossoms.
MBN injects the momentum and physics-based gameplay of Portal into a stylish 2D underworld. Combining the grandeur Art Deco style of 1920s architecture with the simple design aesthetics of Limbo and a rich, vibrant pallet, MBN looks like no game you've played before. Whether swinging Super Metroid-style or flinging distant magnetized objects, the mechanical protagonist hovers between a crumbling technological present and a hidden biological past.
Run, jump, and dodge. Vault over burning plasma, swing from sliding bolts, propel yourself along unseen lines of force. Scale walls or descend into pits. Squeeze through a maze-like cavern of twisty little passages, magnetically-joined limbs in tow.
It's single-player problem-solving action with a twist. Victory requires clever thinking as well as twitch-quick reflexes.
MBN began as a student project in the University of Utah's Entertainment Arts & Engineering program, the best video game dev school in the nation. Building on the success of prior EAE releases, Tripleslash Studios fine-tuned this title up to the next level of sophistication and polish. The game received universal praise when shown at GDC last month and is competing in this year's E3’s College Game Competition. MBN: Awakening, a condensed version of MBN designed specifically for the XBLIG Market, is now available for Xbox 360 owners and has even gained the Seal of Approval from the famous gaming critic - Indie Gamer Chick.
We are nine months into development and all the core components are in place. MBN: Awakening is now available for Xbox 360 owners, but we have a lot more content than we can fit into a condensed release. More features, more challenges, more magnets — more fun! With your help, we will be able to develop an enhanced and expanded release designed specifically for PC, Mac, and Linux with all new features, levels, mechanics, and more!
Here are our major milestones:
• March 27 - 29 — Beta presentation at the EAE booth at Game Developers Conference
• April 19 — Submitted to the E3 College Game Competition
• April 26 — Magnetic By Nature: Awakening release
• May 10 - 12 — MBN: Awakening post mortem and demo at Salt Fest
• Late May — IndieCade Submission (if funded)
• Late May — UDMC Submission
• Third Quarter 2013 — Windows PC, Mac, and Linux Release (if funded)
• Fourth Quarter 2013 — To Be Announced
"Levels mix Portal‘s idea of physics and navigation with magnets to have you attracting and repelling your way through a stage’s puzzles (think of the magnets as your new ‘Companion Cube’)" - Tim Hurley from The XBLIG
We want to share this game with everyone! To make that happen we need to cover a few baseline costs; although they may not seem like much, without your help we can't make it happen.
Our projected expenditures include:
• Hosting & Bandwidth
• Distribution Fees
• Software Licensing
• Festival Submission Fees
• Platform-Specific Quality Assurance & Testing
"This is looking really good. You're going to knock this out of the park" — Kurtis Constantine from Red Thread Games
It's a great time to be a gamer or game developer: unbroken communication between player and designer means we can provide you with an experience you're genuinely invested in, while independent financing means we can produce a unique game at an affordable price.
This is what you'll help us accomplish:
• Subsidise the expansion of game features and environments.
• Provide feedback and direction during development.
• Mitigate distribution and promotion costs.
We've got big plans for the future. We're thrilled to share more details as things move along....
"It's beautifully designed, colourful, moody, stylish, and has some pretty innovative puzzle platformer gameplay in there - what's not to like?" - WelshPixie
Bringing this game to a wider audience sounds amazing to us, but we know that nothing comes for free. To thank everyone who helps us make our dream a reality we're serving up a bunch of different goodies!
See the sidebar to the right for more details, and check out the FAQs and contact info below.
Who are we, anyway? We're a varied crew of enthusiasts producing original interactive entertainment. Our hope is that Magnetic By Nature will be the first of many titles. This is how we've each contributed so far:
Kyle Chittenden /// Producer, Lead Animator
Kyle has acted as our Studio's head since its inception. In addition to animating the protagonist and developing the hybrid 2D-3D presentation, his leadership, positivity, and organizational skill have kept the group on track throughout development.
Jonathan Humphries /// Lead Game Designer, Artist
Jonathan originally conceived Magnetic By Nature, authored our game design documents, and lead the design process as the team has revised and improved the mechanics and aesthetics. His vision continues both to inspire creativity and guide decisions back toward the core game play.
Brendan Wanlass /// Lead Engineer, Programmer
Brendan leads the coding team by example, developing key game components including the magnetic simulation, the input & menu systems, and the particle effects. In addition, his legal and business experience in the mobile games industry has helped transform us from a team into a company.
Becky Pennock /// Art Lead, Environment Artist
Becky designed the tone and feel of Magnetic By Nature, ensuring that game assets silently explain mechanics to the player while simultaneously establishing mood and atmosphere. Her expertise bridges the cognitive gap between Tripleslash's artists and engineers.
Andrew Jones /// Tools & Infrastructure Programmer
Andrew's problem solving skill and hard work have paid huge dividends in the form of our design and development tool-chain. While his level editor underlies our iterative production process his engineering experience is evident in the game's entity-component architecture and 3D rendering pipeline.
Diana Ngo /// Environment Animator, Artist
In addition to rendering the background animations used in Magnetic By Nature Diana also created much of the game's core iconography including the all-important flowers guiding the protagonist. Diana's adept level design has won uniform praise from early players.
David Hurst /// Engine Programmer, Composer
Dave put his electrical and computer engineering background to good use developing many of the low level systems Magnetic By Nature relies on, from saved games and level loading to audio output. Audio is a natural fit as he also composed, produced, and mastered the game's soundtrack.
Cory Haltinner /// Artist, Public Relations
Cory's graphic designs are visible throughout Magnetic By Nature, from comprehensive general layouts to specific details such as the Art Deco-styled magnets. In addition, he lead our promotional campaign, tested our development tools, and created distinctive puzzles.
Paige Ashlynn /// Mechanics Programmer, Writer
Paige designed and implemented many systems enabling Magnetic By Nature's core game mechanics, including the custom event scripting engine. Paige also maintains the source repository, conducted market and technology research, and wrote content for the website, social media, and Kickstarter.
Evan Munro /// Lead Environment & Concept Artist
Evan's expressive concept illustrations established Magnetic By Nature's unique visual style. His background illustrations, together with the color palette he helped define, evoke the spirit of each region the protagonist explores; many of the interactive objects encountered are also his creations.
Although the team is newly-formed, individually we've got experience under our belts. For example, Becky worked on the well-received titles Primal Carnage and Urban Space Squirrels and Kyle & Andrew participated in this year's Global Game Jam producing Heart of War in only 48 hours.
Stay In Touch, Keep Up to Date
We crave your feedback! It's thanks to the local devs and players we've interacted with that MBN has reached its present level of quality; we can't wait to see how great it becomes with the help of gamers across the globe, whether they back us or not.
Anything else? Send questions about the game, the rewards, or any else our way!
Risks and challenges
Our team is relatively small. Although this allows us great focus and artistic freedom it comes with inherent risks: if any one of us became unavailable that would negatively impact our capabilities. It's hard to predict exactly what the repercussions of such an event would be, but the rest of the team would remain dedicated to publishing our product.
Making any game is intrinsically difficult. While the coding, artwork, and design are all nearly complete, polishing and balance remain tricky. As an independent game studio just starting out, we don't have the resources of a large publisher and so we cannot guarantee the level of stability or polish that is the AAA norm.
We have not previously worked with any of the digital distribution channels we are considering. Although we don't anticipate trouble, this is new territory for us. We have plans for private distribution in case a distribution deal falls through.
Although in the final phase of development, Magnetic By Nature remains a work in progress. It is possible that some unforeseen event will force us to alter or remove some features. We will work hard to avoid this, and before any decision is made we will explain to our backers why such a change is being considered.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Good news! We will now be developing in Unity 3D! As such, we will be able to release on both OSX and Linux in addition to Windows. These will be concurrent releases and we are still shooting for Q3 2013.
The condensed Xbox version, MBN: Awakening, is available now! If you'd like to try this smaller version of the game, check it out here: http://bit.ly/11Rhpvk
Steam has remained our distribution channel of choice since we first began discussing MBN; however, the decision is not entirely in our hands. We will examine many distribution channels and select the best fit. If there is a distributor you feel we should work with, please let us know!
We are interested in bringing MBN to as many platforms as possible, but we want to make sure the experience is fluid, fun, and feels like it belongs. An Android version might be possible on a device like the Ouya or GameStick, but a phone or tablet release requires an overhaul of the mechanics, visuals, and controls. We are looking into this possibility; our backers will be the first to know about future developments.
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